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Ballet West's new reality TV show, 'Breaking Pointe' premieres tonight on the CW

Published: Thursday, May 31 2012 12:48 p.m. MDT

Beckanne Sisk, center, of Salt Lake City's Ballet West, talks with fellow dancers in the new reality TV show "Breaking Pointe," which debuts on the CW network Thursday, May 31, 2012.

Erik Ostling, The CW

The CW is about to get up close and personal with Salt Lake City's renowned ballet company, Ballet West.

Joining reality dance shows like "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing with the Stars," "America's Best Dance Crew," and "Dance Moms," "Breaking Pointe" will go inside the personal and professional lives of Ballet West members, taking an in-depth look at the inner workings of professional ballet and the lifestyle and dedication it takes to be a dancer at Ballet West.

Focusing primarily on seven company members, the show will explore what takes place between performances. Cameras will go inside the homes of the dancers, highlighting their strenuous personal lifestyles as dancers and their drive for perfection.

During the six weeks of filming for the show, cameras ventured into Ballet West's rehearsals for their spring production of George Balanchines Emeralds, as well as into artistic director Adam Sklute's office during contract renewals, as he promoted dancers and released others from the company. Sklute explains that in a functional company, dancers must know that "they're special, but also that they're expendable."

Finding the right company to feature was a lengthy process for casting producers. Fifteen ballet schools were considered for casting including the San Francisco Ballet, the Boston Ballet and Juilliard before narrowing the potentials down to three.

Ballet West beat out the competition due to its prestige and social structure featuring only 40 dancers, their somewhat secluded location in Salt Lake City.

Interest in the inner-workings of the professional ballet world took off after director Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" hit theaters in 2010, featuring Oscar-winner Natalie Portman. "Black Swan" depicted ballet dancers as being competitive and obsessive, allowing themselves to reach a psychological breakdown to achieve perfection.

Ballet West hopes that "Breaking Pointe" will not only represent itself well, but also all ballet dancers.

I hope the show is able to reach out to people who never have seen or never would have seen ballet and give them kind of an understanding and appreciation for it, featured dancer Tom Mattingly told KSL's Carol Mikita.

Breaking Pointe" premieres Thursday, May 31, on the CW network. The initial production is only six episodes, but producers say there could be more if Ballet West gains an audience.

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